Parent Gifts

As the break gets closer and closer the one thing I ALWAYS forget about is making parent gifts with the kiddos. The other thing I forget about is how long it takes to make them (and my lack of patience during the whole process!)

Last year, my team told me about making snowman mason jars (a project they found on Pinterest.) It was a very cute idea but it involved paint, crafty supplies, and a glue gun. 3 things that make for a long day and a BIG mess! I decided this year I was going to keep it as simple as possible.


I had them make a class collaboration list on everything they are thankful for that their parents do for them. We took that list and they each wrote a letter to their parents saying how much they loved them and what they are thankful for when it comes to their families.


Most of my kiddos took this pretty seriously. We talked about how the most meaningful thing you can give to another person comes from the heart and there are very few things more from the heart than your words. We took the letters and mounted them on construction paper to create a thick card.

As we let the letters dry we made very simple and easy ornaments using craft foam. I traced out yellow lights and blue mittens that they could pick to cut out. They then got to decorate them and put their school picture on it with the year. (They are super simple and pretty cheap but I’m a new teacher with hardly any money so this was the best I could do!)


This was all we got done today. I overestimated our abilities to get it all done and wrapped in one solid day.

Tomorrow I plan to have them hole punch the top of their ornaments to add a string at the top. We will then take their letters and fold them into cards. Last week I bought some Christmas photo booth props from Target and took pictures of each of them in front of a tree with their props. (They look so cute!)

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I ordered them to have them put on the cover of their cards. After that we have the whole wrapping process, which I’m going to keep as simple as possible because my patience level is slowly declining. We’ll just put the ornament in the card and make a paper envelope to put the card in. Simple. Easy. DONE.

What are some ideas for parent’s gifts you make?

ONLY 4 MORE DAYS!! I just have to keep telling myself that. I. CAN. DO THIS.


Blogmas – Day 8 Gift Exchange

Ok so pretty short and sweet post here and lots of ways to take the topic of gift exchange at Christmas.

My immediate family is very small (only 4 of us) so we all get each other about 3ish gifts. My parents usually have more for my sister an I. For us, it’s more a time to bond together. A lot of our gifts are “gag gifts” so it’s a fun occasion.

A tradition my friends and I have is a secret Santa dice game gift exchange. We started it in high school. We each bring a gift that matches where we all are in our lives (this year I plan on buying coffee and wine for my gift because we’re all exhausted 23 year olds who like a good drink) and then we play the traditional dice game together. We’ve recently started to break out a few drinks along the way, so it gets a bit more exciting!

When I think of gift exchanging at Christmas I think more about wanting to make my friends and family feel loved rather than thinking about receiving gifts from them. I love picking out just the right thing for the special people in my life. I love using Etsy for this. I can spend hours searching for the perfect gift for just one person. I take pride in being able to find something meaningful and special for the ones I love.

Looking back, I feel like this was a very random post but I take the idea of gift exchange in many ways.

Blogmas – Day 6 Gingerbread Houses and Day 7 Homemade Presents

Once again, 2 days coming right up!

Day 6: Gingerbread Houses

My family has a big tradition when it comes to gingerbread houses (like we have a big tradition for almost anything Christmas related). Every year, my 2 cousins come over to my house and we make mini gingerbread houses using frosting, candy, and graham crackers. So technically, they’re not gingerbread but they’re our version of them. They’re also much easier to work with than making a large gingerbread house.

There are 4 of us who make them. My sister Lea, my cousins Haley and Lindsay, and myself. We each have our own personalities that don’t really change from year to year. My sister usually tries to make the biggest and most extravagant house she possibly can. My cousin Haley is usually more interested in eating the frosting and crackers than making a detailed house. Lindsay, the youngest and craziest, picks a celebrity and tries to recreate their face as her “house.” (It gets pretty creative! One year she tried to make Miley Cyrus and the next she tried to make Kim Kardashian!) Myself, I’m a very literal person, I usually try to make the most traditional gingerbread house I can. We started this tradition when I was in 5th or 6th grade and here I am now, 23, planning our 2018 date to get together to build our next set of houses.


Day 7: Homemade Christmas Presents

I am a HUGE fan of homemade presents. Being a teacher, I’ve had plenty of experience coming up with homemade gift ideas for parents. I’ve also created my own over the years in school. When I was in college, like most, I had no money. My go to present for my family was usually a framed picture. I guess that isn’t totally homemade but it was cheap and easy and very much personalized to each person in my family.

I’m also a fan of giving away boxes of cookies as gifts to neighbors and coworkers. I used to put together tins of cookies in high school for my friends so I didn’t have to buy a whole bunch of gifts for different groups of people. My family is big on making Christmas cookies so we would be able to make tins and tins full of them to share. It’s also a gift for me making them because I get to spend the time with my family (like the pictures below.) It’s a win win.

Finally, the last homemade gift I’m a huge fan of is making ornaments. I used to make an ornament every year in school to give to my parents and they still have them on our Christmas tree today. It’s very personalized and comes from the heart. I was also a gymnast in high school and every year a friend of mine would make the whole team an ornament to keep. I still have each and every one of mine on my own tree. It’s very cheap and easy to make and, again, comes from the heart!


December 1st = Day 1 of Kindness Month

Happy December 1st! I am so thrilled that my favorite month is finally here! In my classroom I like to focus on the idea of teaching random acts of kindness. This is the time of year we hear about giving to others in need. To me, that also means doing anything you can for another person. I use each day to talk about how we can help others through something as simple as giving them a smile. There are a few activities that I like to do throughout the month that helps get my students in the mood. (Thank you TPT for having my back and giving me these FANTASTIC ideas!)

The first thing I like to do comes from  Kile’s Classroom. This is the “Random Acts of Kindness Chain.” (Click on the link to be directed to his store.) This is essentially a countdown chain that shows how many more school days are left until Christmas Break. When you take off a chain, it shares an example of a random act of kindness the kids could easily accomplish in one day. It gives ideas like, “write a note to a teacher in the past who you want to thank,” or “give someone a compliment about their personality.” It is AMAZING!!! We do it every morning during our morning meeting. One student gets the chance to take off the day’s link and read the act. From the moment the kindness act is read, my students get incredibly motivated to start right away. My class last year did not get along most days and we did so many team bonding activities and games to make them closer. It wasn’t until we did this, starting December 1st, that they put aside their differences and got along better than they had the whole year. The best thing about this activity is that it is FREE and it only takes 2 minutes of the day to complete.Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 3.37.00 PM

The next activity that I love to do comes from Tails of Teaching. This activity is called the Top 2 Class Kindness Activity.

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This activity is something I do once a week, for the 3 weeks we have until break. On Monday morning, each student is assigned another student in the room to fill out a kindness note. They write the student’s name followed by their 2 most favorite things about them. I made it an anonymous activity, so the student didn’t know who had them and no one knows who they have. It is sweet to see the comments they can come up with about their peers. When we did this activity, I noticed my students with very little self esteem, start to speak up more in the room and reach out to other students who they may have been afraid to speak to beforehand. It builds incredible new relationships that last for the remaining of the year.

Last but not least is my favorite activity that I use as a decoration for my classroom. It is called the Gift of Kindness from Jodi Southard’s Shop on TPT. Students each get a light bulb that prompts their writing with the phrase, “I can light up the world with kindness by…” Each student fills it out with their own answer and then, when they’re all cut out and completed, I use string to make them look like actual Christmas lights and put them up around the room. It is such a simple and quick activity that helps put the room in the Christmas (and kindness) spirit!

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I LOVE this time of year and want to use it to share with my students the true meaning of Christmas (or the holiday season). These 3 activities are so easy and teach so many lessons in such a short amount of time.